Rogers to lead Arabians girls basketball program

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Former Arabian hoops star Nick Rogers is now Pendleton Heights’ head girls basketball coach.

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PENDLETON — Nick Rogers will be leading a team at the school where he is an all-time leader.

The 2005 Pendleton Heights graduate was approved, at the South Madison Community School Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, to be the school’s next head coach for the girls varsity basketball program.

A 6-foot, 9-inch force in the post, Rogers is second on the school’s boys basketball all-time scoring list with 1,366 points. He is still the school’s all-time leader in rebounds with 715. He holds the record for field-goal percentage for a season and career and was named an Indiana All-Star in 2005.

He played collegiately at both Southern Illinois University and Anderson University.

Rogers takes over for Chad Cook, who resigned his position as head coach last month. He was the lead varsity assistant to Cook last season and went 2-1 filling in as a head coach for a short period during the 2021-22 season. One of the wins was over No. 4-ranked Fishers.

His coaching career began as an assistant in the Arabians boys program from 2009-2012, which including sectional championships in 2011 and 2012. The 2012 team went to the regional championship game.

He also had a stint as a boys varsity assistant at Mississinewa.

At Mississinewa he was credited with improving post play, implementing a strength and conditioning program, starting a booster club from the ground level, and being a major contributor in the development of a youth basketball program.

Rogers said he had stepped away from coaching for a bit to help with the youth program, the Lady Arabian Basketball Club (LABC).

Cook brought him aboard last season to be an assistant coach.

“Through the interviewing process I told the athletic department and Mrs. (Connie) Rickert, the principal, I said this is really the only job I would ever apply for,” Rogers said. “This isn’t a springboard for me. I bleed Green and White. It’s always been my dream.

“Before I had daughters, I thought I’d be coaching on the boys side. Once I had girls, it made more sense if I was going to be away from my family (coaching), I want to be at least helping build something, hopefully, for them down the road. This is the pinnacle. There is no other place I want to be. I want to do everything I can to make Lady Arabian basketball great or bust. I have zero desire to go anywhere else. (Our family) we’re Pendleton lifers. Going forward is to make it the best as we can because we’re not going anywhere.”

Rogers is stepping into a good situation. The Arabians are coming off an outstanding season. The Arabians went 19-6 and won county and conference titles. They reached the championship game of the Mt. Vernon Sectional, but lost to the host school.

They graduated four key players in Hailee Brunnemer, Kylea Lloyd, Morgan Martin and Abi Rosenkrans, but have a good nucleus returning, which includes the Warfels, junior Whitney and freshman Kaycie.

They were two of the team’s top scorers last year. Kaycie averaged a team-high 15.7 points per game and 3.0 steals per contest. Whitney scored at a 13.7 point clip and averaged 5.3 rebounds.

“We’re excited (about the future),” Rogers said. “We were extremely blessed last year to have four seniors that played a lot. The team will look a little bit different, but all the goals and expectations are the same. We’re still going to be pushing to try to win the Hoosier Heritage Conference and we want to be able finally scale and get to the mountain top to win that Sectional 9 title.

“We got super close last year, getting to coach Cook’s first sectional final. We want to use that momentum we had and keep pushing forward and get to that next peak. We’re excited. We’ve got some girls with a lot of experience who have played from a young age and we have some new players coming in from JV and good freshmen coming in.”

Rogers added that he wants to continue to grow the program, which starts with the LABC.

“We want to try to reach as many girls as we can and raise the excitement and get more girls excited in the community about playing the game,” Rogers said. “You can’t have continued success unless that is something that is valued. That’s something we have been working on the last couple of years with coach Cook, and I am going to continue it.

“To have continued success and have those girls, when they get to the high school, they know the expectations and what it means to be a Lady Arabian already.”

“We are excited that coach Rogers will remain a part of the Pendleton Heights family,” athletic director Chad Smith said in a press release from the PHHS athletic department. “I am confident that he is the right person to lead our girls basketball program in the future. It was apparent during the interview process that coach Rogers has a passion for everything Pendleton Heights.”

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